Summer Recess is here! The next six weeks are your best chance to get some face-to-face time with your Senators and/or Representative.
We encourage you to attend an event in your town and talk to lawmakers about H-2B increases, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, numerical immigration levels, and more. Suggested talking points can be found below. You can also download our handout.
The House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the Homeland Security spending bill for FY17 that would exempt certain foreign workers from the annual cap of 66,000. This policy could potentially quadruple the number of H-2B visas issued next year!
Additionally, the unemployment rate for American workers with a high school degree or less is double that of the national average. These are the very Americans who would compete with H-2B visa holders for jobs. That's why several groups, including the major unions, oppose this increase.
Please work to have this provision removed from the FY17 spending bill.
Last year, Congress passed Trade Promotion Authority, which allows for a simple up-or-down vote on trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Such trade deals allow service providing companies from Canada, Mexico, and other countries to bring in foreign workers and directly compete with U.S. companies and employees that already provide those services.
Free trade agreements have the unintended consequence of giving international organizations authority over U.S. immigration policy. Just last week, India threatened to challenge any limits Congress were to enact on the H-1B program to the World Trade Organization.
Pres. Obama may ask the Senate to vote on TPP during the lame duck session. Please ensure that Congress retains control over immigration policy in all trade agreements and not cede the authority to an international tribunal.
Criminal Justice Reform
House Speaker Paul Ryan said the House will vote on criminal justice reform in September. The four Senate sponsors of criminal justice reform legislation also pushed for a September vote.
More than 25% of recent federal drug trafficking convictions and 77% of recent federal drug possession charges have been non-citizens, but the proposed legislation would release many of these criminals onto the streets when the Obama Administration has shown little interest in deporting illegal aliens. Furthermore, the legislation is opposed by most law enforcement groups.
Please oppose any criminal justice legislation unless it specifically excludes criminal aliens from the reforms.
The President plans to continue resettling thousands of Syrian refugees even though FBI Director Comey said there's no database for checking their background.
The number of illegal-alien minors illegally crossing the border has increased exponentially but the President is ignoring the law that requires their deportation.
Pres. Obama is trying to resettle or shield from deportation as many foreign nationals as possible before his term ends, irrespective of the threat from ISIS or MS-13 gangs. This must be front and center in the fall campaigns so it is fixed next year.
It's been more than a year since Kate Steinle was killed in San Francisco by an illegal alien who was released because of the city's sanctuary policies, and Congress has yet to take meaningful action in response.
In July, Attorney General Lynch directed the Justice Department to withhold Justice Dept. grants from jurisdictions that refuse to hold criminal aliens for transfer to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This is a great first step, but Congress must go even further.
Sanctuary Jurisdictions should be defined as any jurisdiction that fails to communicate and fully cooperate with federal immigration agents, even if that means holding an individual in custody longer than local law allows. Local law enforcement should be protected from liability should they act on behalf of ICE. Additionally, local law enforcement should be encouraged to check the immigration status of anyone they detain and should be encouraged to contact ICE when they detain an individual in the country illegally.
Town Hall Do’s and Don’ts provided by Legistorm.com:
Before the Town Hall---
- Do a little research on your member of Congress. Know their personal background and history. Pay special attention to that Member's stance on the topic or issue you want to discuss. Research the district staff at LegiStorm.com to know who you might get a chance to meet.
- Organize your argument. Have a general idea of what you want to say during the town hall. Use stats, facts, and examples to beef up your argument.
- If possible, go in a group. There's power in numbers. It will be harder for a member of Congress to ignore a unified and vocal group of people. Make sure that every member of your group is prepared.
During the Town Hall---
- Do show up early.
- Do be polite and respectful to your member of Congress and to fellow attendees.
- Do find and talk to staff members. At in-person town halls, they will always be there. Introduce yourself, talk to them, tell them your story.
- Do find and talk to the media covering the event. Broadcast your message.
- Do be aware of the town hall's format. Pay attention to how much time you are allotted to speak.
- Do be passionate about what you are discussing.
- Do tell a personal story to connect emotionally with the member of Congress.
- Do use specific numbers and facts. Opinions are only as strong as their factual underpinnings.
- Do bring written copies of your statement as well as business cards to leave with staff members.
- Do introduce yourself before asking your question.
- Don’t fail to show up if this is a scheduled one-on-one meeting. Provide prior notification if you are running late.
- Don’t interrupt the member of Congress, staff member, or audience member when they are speaking.
- Don’t be discouraged if the Congress member disagrees with you.
- Don’t underestimate your importance. As an informed voter, you have the power to influence your member of Congress as well as others in your community.
- Don’t make your message confusing by trying to say too much at once. This is where preparation—knowing what you will say beforehand—helps immensely.
- Don’t expect to be heard if you are not a constituent. Members don’t want outsiders taking advantage of their town halls. If you are an outside organizer, get one of your local members to talk.
After the Town Hall---
- Follow up. Send a thank-you note, e-mail or phone call to the member’s office. If you were able to connect with a staffer, follow-up with them specifically.
- Follow through on any promise you made to the member of Congress or staff.
- Be consistent and persistent. Keep showing up to town hall meetings and contacting the member's offices.